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rashaka organized the Rose/Doctor Parting of the Ways Ficathon. I was assigned the_haunted_one, who requested Rose/Nine, deep, angsty, and deeply romantic.

Title: The Smallest Version of Paraguay
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Doctor Who
Ship: Rose/Doctor
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Embrace the underpinnings of skin.
Notes: Spoilers through "The Parting of the Ways"



Rose watches the Doctor, the new but not new one, and feels a little empty.

He's like, she thinks, hearing a good cover of a song that she loves. Not bad, not really, but also not what she's wanting.

She wants her Doctor back. Except he's dead.

Kind of.

The confusion, she decides, is adding insult to injury.

Injury being the emptiness in a corner of her heart, the one that gets larger every time she stares at the new face and finds it less dear than the old one.

*


The Doctor spins her around the TARDIS, the music piping in from somewhere around the ceiling.

It's hard to keep track, but she catches bits of Johnny Cash, Geri Halliwell, Mariah Carey, some opera stuff they used to play in the menswear department, the section with all the fancy ties. And Jimmy Hendrix.

She laughs and laughs, because she's a little dizzy. She wonders how the Doctor picks up music, whether he stops in different eras to browse through record stores, or if he just
knows it, like he knows just the right times she wants to visit home.

The Clash comes on the speakers, and the Doctor's hand slides up her back as she grins.


*


After Barcelona is Kelrizon, on the other side of the universe. The sunlight is a warm caress, and she drinks something that tastes like lemonade, tingles like seltzer.

The city is celebrating, maybe the entire planet, as far as she knows. There is cheering, and singing, and everywhere she looks, bursts of dazzling color.

They end up in the middle of a street parade, a tallish creature dancing circles around them.

He looks at her, laughter in his eyes, and asks her if she remembers the parade in Rio, that summer after the coup.

"But that wasn't you," she replies, puzzled. "That was the Doctor."

His smile snaps away, and she feels it like a punch to the gut.

"Oh," she says. "Right."

There isn't much to say after that.

*


The afternoon heat bakes into her skin when she steps out of the TARDIS, and she retreats, sheds two layers of clothing, until she's wearing just a camisole.

The Doctor's still in his leather jacket, and she pokes her tongue at him, calls him unnatural.

"Only to you," he replies blithely, and she takes his arm as they wander the streets.

It's the first day of carnaval, and preparations are spilling into the street.

On the corner of a street, a band is playing, brassy and brash. There's a small crowd gathered, and a group of dancers shimmies in the center.

She blushes at their antics, at the cling of their clothes, and the lack thereof. It's like something from under Mickey's mattress, except instead of tawdry, it's beautiful.

He notices her embarrassment, teases her about her immodest generation.

She's just about composed a reply when one of the dancers swoops in, grabs her waist and swings her about. She shrieks with surprise, and the world whirls with her.

When the dancer lets her go, the Doctor catches her, and she slides against him.

The leather of his jacket almost burns through her top, and when he asks her why she's flushed, she tells him she's not used to the heat.


*


She retreats to the kitchen, and he finds her poking at the remains of a strawberry pie.

"I don't think strawberries are in season," she says, without aim.

"I am him, you know," he tells her.

"I know," she replies. "I mean, I think I do. But you're not." She looks up, feels helpless. "It's not the same."

He sits down, reaches across the table to take her hand.

She draws back, and immediately wishes she hadn't.

His expression shutters, and he looks away.

"It's a time machine," he says. "Strawberries are always in season."

She offers him the leftovers, and he eats them without further comment.

*


On Shasta Colony Five, they stop to observe a festival the Doctor claims is legendary in this solar system.

They end up fleeing a stampede of things that look like ostriches, aside from the surprising tentacles, and the glint of the talons on their feet.

He thinks it's hilarious, even though, it turns out, the festival is famous for its body count.

Aside from the cramp in her side, Rose is starting to think it's funny, too.

He reaches out, flails a bit before catching her hand in his.

They grin at each other, and they run.


*


They end up, inadvertently, sitting in on the inauguration speech for the president of an Earth colony, in a year that Rose doesn't remember, except it started with a 7 and ended in a 10.

She thinks he chose it because she made a reference to the Beatles, but she can't be sure. She hasn't been paying attention to very much, of late.

There might be worry in his eyes, but she doesn't pay attention to that, either.

The president, who looks quite human, aside from the two heads, is only amusing for the first fifteen minutes. After that, she gets bored, and antsy in her seat.

She'd suggest they leave, but the Doctor seems interested. Besides, they're hemmed in by the crowd, and she doesn't fancy pushing her way through.

The two suns beat down warmth. She lets the speech melt together with the shifting murmurs of the people around her, lets it all lull her into a doze.

Her head dips, and she falls asleep with her cheek against his shoulder.

When she wakes, his arm is solid against her, the cloth rough against her cheek. She leans into his neck and lets herself smile.

"You smell like him, almost," she murmurs.

He squeezes her closer, and for now, she lets him.

*


It comes to her in dreams, sometimes.

The press of his lips against hers, the way her body fills with light like ecstasy, thrums apart with it.

Then it goes dark, and she feels him lift her, carry her into the cool of the dark.

She buries her face against his shoulder and asks him not to leave her again.

"Not if I can help it," he whispers in her ear. "And you won't let me, anyhow."

She smiles at that, curves her lips against his skin.

When she raises her head, kisses him again, she thinks that he trembles.

He pulls away, touches a hand to her forehead. "Sleep, Rose," he murmurs, and the last kiss is barely a caress.

It's almost a memory, but she's sure that it isn't.

She doesn't yet have the courage to ask him.



###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Allison Titus' Heart Part Two. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here.

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Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
rashaka
Aug. 29th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC)
Guh. LOVE. Love for your fic. And sorrow.

"It's a time machine," he says. "Strawberries are always in season."

Ouch. That line hurt. It was like the entire awkward painfulness of the conversation was encapsulated in that one simple reminder.


The president, who looks quite human, aside from the two heads, is only amusing for the first fifteen minutes.

Was it a President Beeblebrox, perhaps? ;)
voleuse
Aug. 29th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! And thanks for organizing this. Y'know, because I really needed another fandom to fic. Snerk.

Was it a President Beeblebrox, perhaps?

Caught that, did you? Hee!
loneraven
Aug. 29th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful piece. Interestingly, it's a plot that I'm beginning to loathe, but you've done it how it should be done, and I second the previous comment about strawberries in season: that line was just perfect.
voleuse
Aug. 29th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm thrilled you liked it.

I was worried about being trite, as the plot is getting overplayed (naturally), but it's my first DW fic, so I thought I'd start with the tried and true. *g*
the_haunted_one
Aug. 30th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

i love it. end of.
voleuse
Sep. 8th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm THRILLED you liked it.
rhipowered
Aug. 31st, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
Love this. It's romantic without being sappy, and it's angsty without going overboard. Great work.

[makes her way through the post-POTW ficathon master list]
voleuse
Sep. 8th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

That's a lovely icon.
svilleficrecs
Jan. 8th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
That was positively PERFECT. Sigh. The hot leather on her skin, and all your little details at first, and the awareness of his hurting beneath it all. Delicious. I must hunt down your other DW stuff now
dualbunny
Jan. 10th, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
*Beautiful*. Please excuse me while I go gather up the very gently shattered pieces of my heart now...
voleuse
Jan. 14th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much!
amothea
Jul. 15th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
I really liked this. Rose's reactions made sense and I felt the doctor's hurt, but I also liked that there was hope at the end. :)
moodfic
Jul. 18th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
biases
Jun. 13th, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
Oh, just wonderful writing. I like Rose's honest confusion, and those little barbs that she doesn't mean hurting the Doctor all the same.

An excellent story, and going into the mems. :)
moodfic
Aug. 1st, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
nessaja82
Sep. 16th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
I only just found this - yes, I am slow - and I read it not really knowing what I ran into. After going back and actually reading the prompt, I have to say you nailed it perfectly, but now I feel like crying.

This was beautiful. There was hurt going so deep and at the same time the tiniest strings of hope all sewn together.

Thank you so much. This definitely goes onto my fave list.
fatema
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
This is absolutely gorgeous. I really, really loved it. And I think I needed to see these transitional moments. Just, beautifully done.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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